SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- It was a verdict no one saw coming.
A California jury has found Jose Inez Garcia Zarate not guilty of murder or involuntary manslaughter of 32-year old Kate Steinle.
"The verdict that came in today was not the one we were hoping for," Alex Bastian from the San Francisco District Attorney's office said.
The tragedy happened back in 2015 when Kate was shot while walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco.
Zarate was arrested but called the shooting an accident, saying he found the gun wrapped in a shirt under a bench. Zarate's attorney said the bullet ricocheted before hitting Steinle, which raised a lot of questions on whether or not Zarate fired the gun on purpose.
This case also opened up a whole other floodgate of controversy for illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. Zarate is an illegal immigrant, deported to Mexico five times and has seven felonies on his record.
In 2015, before Kate was killed, Zarate was arrested and released for a drug charge, but was never turned over to immigration authorities because San Francisco is a sanctuary city.
However, none of that was heard in court. The only thing up for debate was whether or not Zarate pulled the trigger on purpose or not?
"Nothing about Mr. Garcias Zarate's ethnicity, nothing about his immigration status, nothing about the fact that he is born in Mexico had any relevance as to what happened on July 1st, 2015," Public Defender and Immigration Attorney, Francisco Ugarte said.
The jury ultimately delivered a not guilty verdict but did convict Zarate of felony possession of a firearm, which could give him three years behind bars, and deportation is still on the table.
All of this gave president trump a lot to tweet about.
Sanctuary cities, building walls, there's a lot of blame being thrown around, but Zarate's lawyers want Kate's family to know one thing, "I hope that they do not interpret this verdict as diminishing in any way the awful tragedy that occurred and that their family has suffered," Defense lawyer, Matt Gonzales said.
A kind of tragedy, that everyone hopes doesn't happen again.